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News stories tagged with "ethanol"

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack

Agriculture secretary addresses 'silent crisis' in rural America

Last week, President Obama turned his attention to rural America. He visited an ethanol refinery in Missouri, a small CSA farmer in Iowa, and wind turbine blades manufacturer in Iowa. The message was that while farming is important to rural communities, most rural people get their paychecks off the farm. New industries like renewable energies will be key to reviving small towns.

On Air Force One, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said that rural America is facing "a silent crisis." David Sommerstein got a chance to interview Vilsack to ask what he meant. Vilsack says the recession hit rural America decades ago. He says 90% of counties with persistent poverty are in rural areas.  Go to full article

Bion shelves feedlot, ethanol plans

The plan to build an 84,000 cow feedlot and ethanol plant in St. Lawrence County has been put on hold. Bion Environmental Technologies says the economy is forcing the company to focus on more short-term projects. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

From the trash to the tank

For the past few years, ethanol's been a political darling, but lately it seems the party's over. There's concern the industry's using too much corn. That's contributing to rising food prices. Well, some companies want to avoid the controversy. Reporter Shawn Allee explains they want to make ethanol from stuff we leave behind at the dinner table.  Go to full article

Task force questions Bion plan

A St. Lawrence County Task Force met Tuesday night to look into a proposal for an 84,000 beef cattle feedlot and ethanol plant. Bion Environmental Technologies said the combination is the future of agriculture. And they said they've designed a way to make it environmentally friendly. But members of the task force said they're concerned about the scale of the project and why Bion hasn't tested their technology on farms with more than 4000 cows. Kinna Ohman reports.  Go to full article

Bion panel to vet feedlot-ethanol plan

St. Lawrence County is finalizing the make-up of a task force to analyze a company's plan to build an 84,000-head beef feedlot and ethanol plant. Scientists, farmers, lawmakers, and citizens will gather information on the project. The task force was a major component of the county's expression of "tentative support" for Bion's plans. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Lawmakers water down Bion support

Public pressure forced the St. Lawrence County legislature to step back from a declaration of support for a massive feedlot and bioenergy project. According to the Watertown Daily Times, more than 75 people showed up at the Board meeting last night, most to express concerns about Bion's 84,000 beef cow and ethanol plans. The Board passed a resolution 12 to 2 that added the word "conceptual" to its already "tentative support" of the project. The resolution will create a task force to analyze Bion's plans.  Go to full article
Bion's Jeff Koppel listens to lawmakers and citizens' support and concerns.
Bion's Jeff Koppel listens to lawmakers and citizens' support and concerns.

County panel gives Bion "tentative support"

A proposal for an integrated 84,000 cow feedlot and ethanol plant came before the services committee of the St. Lawrence County legislature last night. Bion Environmental Technologies says it can make top quality beef and alternative energy in an environmentally friendly way. The project would more than double the number of cows in the county. Lawmakers and concerned citizens had lots of questions. After almost three hours of debate, legislators crafted a resolution of "tentative support" for Bion and promised a comprehensive review. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Ethanol: running the well dry?

It's no surprise that the Corn Belt is the heart of the ethanol boom. Two main ingredients you need to make ethanol are corn and water. There's no shortage of corn of course, and in most places it's assumed there's also plenty of water. But as Rebecca Williams reports, even people in water-rich states are getting concerned about ethanol's thirst for groundwater.  Go to full article

GAO: biofuel distribution problems

U.S. energy policy may be headed in a new direction after a compromise vote in the Senate last week, toward renewable fuels and conservation. The Senate voted 65-27 to approve its bill Thursday night. The bill includes the first rise in gas mileage, or CAFE, standards in 20 years. It also would require a major increase in ethanol production, to at least 36 billion gallons annually by 2022, seven times what the industry produced last year. But the federal government has no comprehensive plan to deal with an expected increase in the production of biofuels. That's according to a new study from the Government Accountability Office. Dustin Dwyer reports that the lack of a plan has some real consequences.  Go to full article

Corn ethanol: farmland conservation takes a back seat

Federal farmland conservation program have saved water, soil and wildlife through simple set-asides. That's when farmers get paid to take some cropland out of production. It protects waterways and provides wildlife habitat. It makes sense for the soil, too. But, in the second of our two-part series on ethanol, Julie Grant reports that as demand for corn and soybeans for ethanol production grows, farmland conservation is taking a back seat.  Go to full article

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